Sure, summer was a blast, but who among us isn’t ready for cooler temperatures and lower humidity? Fortunately, fall is almost here, and that means it’s time for crisp air, falling leaves, and a whole bunch of classic New York City autumnal activities. From extraordinary seasonal festivals to quintessential indoor experiences, here are ten fun things to do in New York City this fall.
Stroll Through a Farmers’ Market
New York City’s fabulous farmers’ market scene isn’t just an enjoyable experience during the long hot summer. All throughout autumn, you can find outdoor markets across the city that cater to fall tastes. From popular area specialties like apple cider donuts to seasonal produce, goods, and more, farmers’ markets are a staple of New York City’s autumn months. If you’ve only got time for one, try and visit Union Square’s famous Greenmarket. This Manhattan institution is active multiple days a week year-round, and routinely features hundreds of distinctive vendors.
Go on a Walking Tour
There’s never a bad time to get out and about and pound some New York City pavement, but there’s something about going for a walk in The Big Apple during fall that’s particularly special. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and the pleasant afternoon temperatures are practically imploring you to get out and stretch your legs. So why not make your walk a whole thing and go on a guided walking tour of New York City? You’ll be amazed at the options in front of you. Whether you want to do some sightseeing, learn about the history of a given neighborhood, witness striking examples of local street art, or stand in the spot where they filmed your favorite scene from The Sopranos, you can’t go wrong with a guided walking tour.
Bask in New York City’s Fall Foliage
Speaking of the leaves turning, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that New York is all concrete, asphalt, glass, and steel. That’s a rookie mistake. New York City is full of lovely parks and beautiful outdoor spaces of all types, which makes it a great place to enjoy the glorious colors that fall brings. Some people swear by trips upstate for leaf-viewing this time of year, but why bother with the hassle of hopping on the highway when you can enjoy gold, brown, red, and orange wonders right here in the city? Everybody has their own favorite spot for fall foliage, but for starters it’s hard to beat Central Park, Fort Tryon Park, and the criminally underappreciated Wave Hill.
View New York City’s Autumnal Colors from Above
If a visit to one or more of those beloved parks doesn’t satiate your desire for all things autumn colors, then perhaps it’s time for you to head to one of New York City’s many popular observation decks. Especially if you’ve never been to New York before, you’re definitely going to want to see the city from the sky, and this time of year you’ll have the added bonus of a unique perspective on the changing colors of autumn. Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock Observation Deck will provide you with the best views of Central Park and its sumptuous shades of fall, but the Empire State Building is something else, too. It’s got not one, but two different observation decks for you to choose from, in fact.
Find a Fall Festival
Fall is festival season in New York, so no matter what you’re most interested in, there’s quite likely a festival featuring it taking place somewhere in the city between the months of September and November. Perennial favorites include the New York Film Festival, New York Comic Con, the New Yorker Festival, the New York City Food and Wine Festival, BRIC JazzFest, and the New York Comedy Festival, just to name a few.
Rent a Kayak
Okay, so fine, I admit it: I’ve talked a big game here in this space thus far, but sometimes it is hard to let go of summer—or at least parts of it. That’s why some of you might be happy to know that one of the city’s best summertime activities—kayaking on the East River—is actually a fall activity, too! That’s right, kayaks can be rented at scenic Brooklyn Bridge Park through October, and best of all, it’s free on Wednesdays.
Visit the New York Botanical Garden
No matter the time of year, one of my favorite spots in all of New York City is the New York Botanical Garden. Located adjacent to the always-fun Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden contains more than four-dozen distinctive gardens spread out across roughly 250 acres of impeccably maintained land. We’re talking about an attraction where you can literally see over one million plants, so it’s a special occasion any time you can visit this wonderful place. Still, the fall makes for amazing circumstances here. In particular, the Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk is open to the public until November—you won’t want to miss its autumn colors!
Have a Happy Halloween
New York City is a fantastic place to celebrate Halloween. There are just so many different ways to get your fill and fix of spookiness throughout October and beyond. From legendary parties like the Village Halloween Parade to charming sights like the Central Park Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla, New York City and Halloween make for a terrific combination.
Feast in Little Italy
Who doesn’t love a good Feast, right? And the Feast of San Gennaro isn’t just your typical, run-of-the-mill Feast. This 11-day event runs from mid- to late-September and makes for the perfect excuse to explore the numerous treats offered up by the Little Italy and NoLita neighborhoods. The Feast of San Gennaro features live music, parades, eating competitions, and a whole lot more. Plus, if that weren’t enough, some of the city’s best restaurants and finest shopping opportunities are located nearby.
Cheer on the Yankees
Major League Baseball’s championship is decided each year during the World Series, a prominent North American sporting event long-nicknamed . . . The Fall Classic. And no team has won The Fall Classic on more occasions than the one-and-only New York Yankees, who have been World Series champions a whopping 27 times. So, yeah, fall is kind of a big deal in The Bronx, the borough where you’ll find fabled Yankee Stadium located. If it’s autumn in New York, that means the Yankees—who haven’t had a losing season in over 30 years—are loading up for another title run, so check out a game if you have the time, or go on the excellent behind-the-scenes tour of Yankee Stadium.